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Boundary-busting Thai fashion upstarts enjoy breakout moment

Bangkok's emerging young designers seek to rival Paris and Tokyo

Dry Clean Only founder Patipat "Best" Chaipukdee looks over some of his latest retro-collage creations. (Photo by John Krich)

BANGKOK -- What do you do when you are a fledgling fashion designer living a continent away from the centers of haute couture? You try to fashion something out of whatever scraps you can find, as design-school dropout Patipat Chaipukdee did in the bedroom of his family home in Bangkok's working-class Ladprao district.

Starting with the used T-shirts that flood Asia, Patipat sewed on sequins and safety pins to create 30 to 40 one-of-a-kind items a month to sell cheaply at Bangkok's famed Chatuchak Weekend Market. "I would stay up all night," said Patipat, whose nickname is Best. "Just like the [market's] fish noodles, I wanted my clothes to be fresh. And soon, just like the good curry vendors, I was selling out my stock by lunch."

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